From affordable beach holidays to fun-filled minibreaks, here's where to holiday in April...
Avoid the April showers at home and escape to somewhere sunnier. This is a great time of year to travel, what with spring around the corner and much of southern Europe warming up. These are the best places to visit in April.
1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Dutch capital is stunning at any time of year, but April marks tulip season so the whole city blossoms into life. Head to Amsterdam on the Eurostar – a far more pleasant way to travel than flying – and check into one of the clever little Bridge Houses dotted throughout the city’s canals. These little homes were once boltholes for the bridge keepers, but today they’ve been converted into small but spectacular hotel rooms.
Once you’ve explored the city’s top sights – the Vondelpark, the opera house, the Anne Frank Museum – strike out into the countryside and make a trip to the tulip fields. Keukenhof is the main event, where thousands of tulips are grown and begin to bloom in April. It’s a sight you’re never likely to forget, and it’s only a few hours from home.
2. South Africa
Best April holiday for: A luxurious adventure
In April, South Africa is ripe for exploring: the weather is sunny but not too hot, and it’s a great time of year for safaris and road trips.
You could spot lions and zebras on safari; look out over Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain; tour the vineyards of the famous Stellenbosch and Franschhoek winelands; explore the Cape of Good Hope; meet the penguins of Boulders Beach and the fur seals of Dyer Island.
If you don’t fancy driving yourself, try a luxury train trip with Rovos Rail to take it all in. You’ll sleep in sumptuous berths and enjoy fine-dining with the other passengers in the evening. Riviera Travel have packages from £4,099 per person.
Best April holiday for: Seeing the world-famous cherry blossom
Spring blossom isn’t just a pretty sight in Japan – it’s a national obsession. Every April, the entire country ventures outside to see the pink and white blooms – a symbol of new life – with picnics, parties, and festivals.
Book well in advance, mind, as it gets busy at this time of year – though it’s well worth the effort of forward-planning. Don’t just stick around in Tokyo, either. The whole country is stunning, and there are incredible islands with pretty beaches and stunning mountains worth exploring. Head to Hakone for an easily accessible mountain adventure.
4. Crete, Greece
Best April holiday for: Early spring sunshine
Migrate south to Crete this month for your best chance of finding sunshine in Europe. Rain is rare this month, and temperatures can reach the low twenties, which is definitely warm enough for a day at the beach.
There’s always a bargain to be had this early in the year, but beware the Easter holiday price hikes if you’re not travelling with kids. If you’re keen to explore beyond just one Greek Island,
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Best April holiday for: Beach hopping & rainforest adventures
After its long hot dry season, Panama springs to life in April. Yes, this month brings some rain, but usually only for a couple of hours in the afternoon – so there’s plenty of time to sunbathe on its white sand beaches, snorkel on colourful reefs, and explore the spectacular rainforests.
Don’t miss the coffee plantations and orchid gardens of Panama’s highland towns, too. Temperatures are cooler up here in the mountains, so you’ll have plenty of energy to try horse riding, hiking and wild swimming.
6. Paris, France
Best April holiday for: A romantic getaway
Yes, it’s a cliche, but Paris in springtime really is rather romantic. It’s cool enough to snuggle up with chocolat chaud in cosy cafes; the city’s parks are blooming with flowers; and the summer crowds are yet to arrive – so the queue for the Louvre won’t be too daunting.
The views over the city from Basilica du Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre will take your breath away – if climbing up the 300 steps to the church hasn’t already. Reward yourself with crepes and vin rouge aplenty.
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Best April holiday for: Family fun in the sun
Where to holiday in April for guaranteed spring sunshine? You can’t go wrong with Egypt: the days are long and sunny (25C, with no chance of rain), and there are some real bargains to be had.
Reputable tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Tui offer plenty of all-inclusive options that won’t break the bank. We’ve spotted a week all-inclusive in a top-rated family resort in Hurghada from just £426 per person – including flights from Gatwick.
8. Rome, Italy
Best April holiday for: Easter celebrations
Nowhere celebrates Easter Weekend quite like Rome. The city’s parades, ceremonies and festivities are always spectacular, even if you’re not religious – and the atmosphere is always buzzing.
Of course, one of Rome’s greatest Easter experiences is its incredible traditional food. This is the time to feast on roast lamb, marzipan pastries and – of course – chocolate eggs by the dozen. Follow the locals’ example and pack a picnic, then head out to watch the processions.